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Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming Image Source: IPLT20.COM
Stephen Fleming Image Source: IPLT20.COM
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Stephen Fleming Becomes Most Successful IPL Coach By Winning 4th IPL Title

Stephen Fleming on Friday became the most successful coach in the Indian Premier League after Chennai Super Kings beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to win their fourth title in Dubai. Stephen Fleming, who has been CSK coach since 2009, surpassed Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene with his fourth title – 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

Stephen Fleming is the most successful coach of IPL. Under his guidance CSK won 4 IPL Title ( 2010,2011,2018, 2021) and one CLT20 (2010).

Stephen Fleming also won the battle of the Kiwi coaches as his CSK outclassed Brendon McCullum's KKR.
Stephen Fleming also won the battle of the Kiwi coaches as his CSK outclassed Brendon McCullum’s KKR. (Courtesy of BCCI).

Stephen Fleming Wins 4th IPL Title As Coach Surpassing MI’s Mahela Jayawardene Who Has 3 Titles

On the other hand, MI coach Mahela Jayawardene has won 3 trophies with MI in 2017, 2019, and 2020. Stephen Fleming also won the battle of the Kiwi coaches as his CSK outclassed Brendon McCullum’s KKR for the third successive time in IPL 2021.

“We have had a number of finals, but crossing the line is what you want to conquer. There has been a bit of criticism about the age of players on our side, but the players have stepped up. We value youth, but experience is very important. We don’t go too deep into the numbers, analytics, but are a team more on instincts. Yes we are a bit old school in that sense but it works for us in this group,” Fleming said after the match.

Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene (Photo| Mumbai Indians website)
Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene (Photo| Mumbai Indians website)

The four-time champions’ 2020 campaign was disastrous as they could not reach the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. They finished seventh in the rankings, and MS Dhoni’s captaincy reign came under question. But they turned it around in IPL 2021 in style, finishing as winners lifting the elusive trophy for the 4th time.

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

Faf du Plessis Anchored Chennai’s Innings With 86 Off 59 Balls In IPL 2021 Finals

Put into bat, Chennai amassed 192-3 with opener Faf du Plessis anchoring their innings with 86 off 59 balls. Ruturaj Gaikwad made 32, while Robin Uthappa (31) and Moeen Ali (37 not out) chipped in with useful cameos. Kolkata, led by England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, got off to a flying start with a 91-run stand between openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer before wheels came off their innings finished on 165-9.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)

Eoin Morgan made four runs, and only four Kolkata batsmen managed double-digit scores. Shardul Thakur returned 3-38, while Ravindra Jadeja claimed 2-37 and took two stunning catches to hurt Kolkata. It was a dream comeback for the Men in Yellow as CSK, who missed out on the play-offs berth for the first time in the history of the tournament in 2020, romped to the title in 2021, making a statement once again.

MS Dhoni’s men came up with a nearly spotless campaign as they qualified for the play-offs ahead of the chasing pack and asserted their dominance in the knockout stages before eventually winning IPL 2021.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter
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CSK’s Win In 2018 Was Very Emotional And Lot Of Hard Work Was Behind IPL 2021 Win: Stephen Fleming

CSK-Chennai Super Kings redeemed itself after a dismal performance last year to clinch the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 title but head coach Stephen Fleming still rates the IPL 2018 final win as special and termed it “very emotional”. CSK had now 4 IPL titles besides its name coming in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

CSK, also known as ‘Dad’s Army’, lifted their fourth IPL title on Friday after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final by 27 runs. Stephen Fleming said he is very proud to have won the IPL 2021 final since many pundits had written off CSK due to the absence of young blood in the side.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

CSK’s Win In 2018 Was Very Emotional: Stephen Fleming

The likes of Shane Watson (555 runs), Ambati Rayudu (602 runs), Suresh Raina (440 runs), MS Dhoni (455 runs) were unstoppable as CSK won the IPL 2018 after a gap of 7 years. Dwayne Bravo (14 scalps), Shardul Thakur (16 scalps), Lungi Ngidi and Ravindra Jadeja (11 scalps each), and Harbhajan Singh (7 scalps ) did well with the ball in IPL 2018.

“It’s very hard to rate them, they (IPL wins) all are specials as they are results of our hard work. I think the one coming back in 2018 was very emotional but there is a lot of hard work in this one too,” Fleming said during the post-match press conference.

Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, CSK, Image Source: The Cricket Times
Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, CSK, Image Source: The Cricket Times

“If you look back when we were called Dad’s Army in the first year (2018), I think a lot of people had no hope from us to maintain the competitiveness during this cycle.There is a satisfaction around and a lot of pride over what players have achieved. There was a challenge with the aging side and I am very proud of what CSK have done and how they have played,” he added.

The likes of Imran Tahir(42 years), MS Dhoni (40 years), Dwayne Bravo(38 years), Faf du Plessis (37 years), Ambati Rayudu (36 years), Robin Uthappa (35 years), Suresh Raina, and Moeen Ali (34 years) are in their fag end of careers and some of them have even quit international cricket.
The four-time champions’ 2020 campaign was disastrous as they could not reach the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. They finished seventh in the rankings and MS Dhoni’s captaincy reign came under question.

CSK’s Head Coach Stephen Fleming Don’t Know Whether It Was An End Of An Era

For IPL 2022, two new teams are set to come in, and it needs to be seen how many players a franchise is allowed to retain before the mega auction. Stephen Fleming knows it will be difficult to retain most CSK players and he is looking forward to seeing how things pan out ahead of the IPL 2022.

“We don’t know (on being asked if this was an end of an era). But we know that whenever we get to the end of the cycle we know that we cannot get some players back,” said Fleming.

Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Stephen Fleming Image Source: IPLT20.COM

“CSK always had a system where we maintain players and keep them with you for a long period of time and get the best out of them. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the next few months. Most teams will have a change in them and we will be one of them,” he added. 

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) stood apart from the rest of CSK’s batsmen and delivered when it was needed. They finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
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It’s A Challenge For Aging Side CSK To Maintain Standards: Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach, poured praise down on his side CSK for maintaining consistency despite highly contrasting beliefs. Stephen Fleming was a proud man after the yellow brigade clinched their fourth IPL title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai on Friday 15th October in IPL 2021 final.

While CSK had one of the most experienced squads, their abilities came under scrutiny due to their high age factor. 40-year-old skipper MS Dhoni himself has seen his powers wane since IPL 2020 as he failed to average more than 25 in the last two seasons while 34-year-old Suresh Raina has looked vulnerable and was dropped for the last few games of IPL 2021. However, they defied everything by turning the tables to beat Kolkata by 27 runs in the decider.

Stephen Fleming Pleased With CSK Winning 4th IPL Trophy

Stephen Fleming hailed the CSK squad as “special” and recognized the hard work put in by them while speaking at a post-match press conference, Stephen Fleming was aware of the “dad’s army” tag and the lack of expectations from them to do as well as they did. He was pleased with the aging side’s accomplishments and deemed them special.

“It’s very hard to reign them and I also think they’re special as they work hard and the results are because of the hard work. I think the win in 2018, coming back was very emotional. There is a lot of hard work in this one and we were called the dad’s army in the first year and I don’t think a lot of people had any hopes for us to maintain the competitiveness during this cycle and another year added, so we were pretty much written off.”

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

“So, there is little bit of jubilation around there and a lot of pride what the players have been able to achieve and maintain the standards over a number of months. It’s a challenge for the aging side. I’m really proud of what they did, the way they played and it was very special, trust me.”

The likes of Imran Tahir(42 years), MS Dhoni (40 years), Dwayne Bravo(38 years), Faf du Plessis (37 years), Ambati Rayudu (36 years), Robin Uthappa (35 years), Suresh Raina, and Moeen Ali (34 years) are in their fag end of careers and some of them have even quit international cricket.
The four-time champions’ 2020 campaign was disastrous as they could not reach the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. They finished seventh in the rankings and MS Dhoni’s captaincy reign came under question.
CSK, who posted 192/3 on the board in the IPL 2021 final on the back of Faf du Plessis’ brilliant 86, restricted KKR to 165/9 and sealed a 27-run win. KKR’s openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer scored the 50s but after they were dismissed, middle-order was exposed.

Stephen Fleming Feels It’s Too Early To Comment On CSK’s Team Combinations In IPL 2022 Mega Auctions

Stephen Fleming admitted that there were some emotions during the final IPL 2021 match when he was asked whether this might be the ‘end of an era’. The 48-year-old highlighted the Chennai Super Kings’ system of developing players and feels it’s quite early to comment on the make-up of the squad before the IPL 2022 mega auctions.

Stephen Fleming added: “Well, maybe. I don’t know and there were emotions around. It might be an end of an era as you might not get some players back. There is some emotion around this last game, so when you win it, it’s a celebration but also a recognition of what the players have put in.”

Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM

“Chennai has always had a system or a belief that if you can maintain players, keep them with you for a long time, you can get the best out of them. And yes, there are players who have been with us for a long time. It’ll be interesting to see over the next few months how it pans out. Most teams are probably going to go for a change and we could be one. But how that looks like it’s too early to tell.”

The mega auction before the 15th edition of the IPL allows the franchises to retain only two Indian players. With MS Dhoni likely to play next season, CSK’s probability of retaining him is high.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 192/3 (Faf du Plessis 86, Moeen Ali 37*; Sunil Narine 2/26) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 165/9 (Shubman Gill 51, Venkatesh Iyer 50; Shardul Thakur 3/38) by 27 runs.
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
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MS Dhoni Who Scored 18 Of 27 Wasn’t The Only One Who Struggled: Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings coach said that MS Dhoni’s slow innings on Monday against the Delhi Capitals was due to the conditions that were in offer in which batters from both teams struggled to score freely.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni’s extraordinarily slow innings on Monday against the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) can be attributed to the difficult conditions that were on offer at the Dubai International Stadium, according to head coach Stephen Fleming.

MS Dhoni struck at 66.6, playing 10 dot balls and failed to hit a single six or four.
MS Dhoni struck at 66.6, playing 10 dot balls and failed to hit a single six or four. (Courtesy of BCCI)

Stephen Fleming: MS Dhoni Wasn’t The Only One Who Struggled

MS Dhoni managed to score just 18 runs from 27 balls, which is his slowest innings in the history of IPL (minimum 25 balls faced), as CSK ended up with only 136 runs for the loss of five wickets on the scoreboard batting first, which didn’t prove decisive in the end.
MS Dhoni struck at 66.6, playing 10 dot balls. He failed to hit a single six or a boundary in a knock that once again highlighted his lack of match practice. Stephen Fleming pointed out the fact that even eventual winners DC could only chase down the total with three wickets and two balls to spare.

“Well, he (Dhoni) wasn’t the only one who struggled,” Fleming said in the post-match press conference. “It was a difficult day for strokeplay. When 137 (136) is almost enough, I think it was a tough wicket to score big on in terms of the big shots. So both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings. Sometimes you set your sights too high, [want] too many, and probably we were only 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score,” said Stephen Fleming.

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
“So, the difficulty at the moment is to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds and, batting first, getting a score that is par or just above. It was no lack of intent, it was just we had to stabilize after a couple of mistakes and then we were reasonably well-placed for 150. The other thing was their attack bowled very well in the last five overs. They were very smart, so it was tough going,” said the former New Zealand captain.

This was CSK’s second consecutive defeat after they lost to Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.

Stephen Fleming Would Rather Have Two Defeats In The League Stage Than In The Playoffs

The loss on Monday cost them the top spot on the league table but both DC and CSK had qualified for the playoffs. Stephen Fleming said he would rather have the defeats in the league games rather than in the next stage of the tournament including eliminators.

“I’d rather have two defeats now than in the two semi-finals, if I ever had a wish list. Today was good, today was scrappy and I think there were a lot of mistakes on both sides. Sometimes, when you’ve qualified, I know there are one or two (things) that we were trying hard for… and things do change a little bit,” Stephen Fleming said.

Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)
Shimron Hetmyer (Photo: BCCI/IPL/ANI)

“We try to work very hard on keeping the intensity. We’re on the back of three games in five days and a bit of travel, so there were probably clumsy mistakes from us, which was the most disappointing aspect, but in terms of the competition one of the key things is rebounding. Second, on the table [with] a chance to get to the top two is still a positive position, but we need to just maintain our intensity or get the flow and rhythm that we had before these two games,” said Stephen Fleming.

The things went right down to the wire, but Delhi Capitals (DC) managed to hold their nerve and beat Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by three wickets in the Match 50 of the IPL 2021 in Dubai on Monday. Shimron Hetmyer played a fine knock of 28* under pressure as DC, with their 10th win of the season, moved to the top of the points table.

CSK, who were put in to bat, made three changes to their team as Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo and Robin Uthappa replaced KM Asif, Sam Curran, and Suresh Raina in the team. DC, on the other hand, brought in debutant Ripal Patel in place of Steve Smith.

Shikhar Dhawan had anchored the chase for much of the innings, but when he fell for 39 in a double-wicket over from Shardul Thakur, the Capitals were staring at defeat at 99 for 6 with two new batters in the middle. Shimron Hetmyer then took charge as he struck Dwayne Bravo for two fours in his first over.

He then smacked Josh Hazlewood for a crucial six, and finally watched from the non-striker’s end as Kagiso Rabada flicked one fine for four to seal a three-wicket win in the final over.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 139/7 (Shikhar Dhawan 39, Shimron Hetmyer 28*; Shardul Thakur 2/13) beat Chennai Super Kings 136/5 (Ambati Rayudu 55*, Robin Uthappa 19; Axar Patel 2/18) by 3 wickets. 

Suresh Raina (Image Credit: IPL)
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Stephen Fleming Unconcerned About Suresh Raina’s Poor Form In IPL 2021

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach, has played down concerns over the form of senior batsman Suresh Raina as IPL 2021 approached the business end of the tournament.

CSK became the first team to qualify for the play-off stages of IPL 2021 following their ninth win of the campaign, but the form of experienced Suresh Raina has dipped ever since his fifty in the tournament opener back in April.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Stephen Fleming: CSK Has A Clear Role For Suresh Raina

Since his knock of 36 balls 54, Suresh Raina has added 103 more runs in 9 innings, but an unconcerned Stephen Fleming said he expects the southpaw to improve his performance as the tournament progresses.

“We have a pretty clear role for him. He has got an optimal time. We want him to bat and we’ve afforded the luxury of a player coming out and being aggressive. So, just getting the timing right without managing the batters,” Fleming said at the virtual post-match conference.

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

“We value his experience and everything has got a part to play in the middle. Suresh is an experienced player who has earned a bit of leeway and as the tournament goes on, his performance will improve.”

In 7 matches so far, the left-handed batsman scored 157 runs in 11 games at a below-par average of 19.62. Suresh Raina has also hit a half-century in one game. He has played exactly 204 IPL games, scored 5525 runs in IPL, and is the 4th highest run-getter in IPL history.

MS Dhoni-led CSK produced a convincing performance against bottom-ranked Sunrisers Hyderabad to maintain their remarkable consistency this season and sailed into the playoffs on Thursday with a six-wicket win at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Stephen Fleming: CSK Has A Chance To Manage The Workload Of Players

Despite registering four wins on the trot, Stephen Fleming said he is not big on momentum, which he believes can go quickly as it comes, and with the play-off berth sealed, the coach said CSK has a chance to manage the workload of players. The likes of Robin Uthappa, Narayan Jagadeesan, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Mitchell Santner may get chances in inconsequential games.

“I am not big on momentum. Momentum can go as quickly as you have it. We don’t really talk about that. What we have probably been afforded is that we can manage workloads of players a bit better,” Stephen Fleming said.

“We have got a day and travel to Abu Dhabi and a day and then a game. The opportunities for guys who are on the fringe… we have afforded that luxury now. But we won’t be too experimental,” Stephen Fleming added.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The three-time IPL champions, who had a season to forget in 2020 as they failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time, have 18 points on the back of nine wins from 11 matches and are the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs. Stephen Fleming said they finished well after a poor start last season and took confidence out of it to emerge stronger in this IPL 2021 campaign.

Bravo back to his best, bowling at death outstanding, says CSK coach Fleming “I think I mentioned it at that time. We were really proud of the way we finished. The way we won the last four games in a row and started to get a little bit of rhythm together. In the first half of the tournament, a number of things went wrong,” Fleming said.

“Our form and confidence were really low but the way we finished was really encouraging and gave us the look of what we could be. We sat down and analyzed to get competitive and took confidence out of it and knew it was just a couple of positions that might make a better-balanced side.”

“In fact though it was a bad year, we were only a win away from a semifinal. Just about trying to create a balanced side that would suit us. It was just about creating an environment that was positive and making sure there was no doubt,” he concluded.

CSK will look to carry on the winning momentum when they next take on Rajasthan Royals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (October 2).

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
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Brad Hogg Thinks MS Dhoni Is Going To Retire At The End Of IPL 2021

Brad Hogg, the former Australia spinner, believes the ongoing 2021 IPL will be CSK’s talismanic skipper MS Dhoni’s final assignment, and he will retire soon after it ends. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain has looked lost at the crease over the last two IPL editions and has failed to contribute significantly with the bat.

With the IPL mega-auction coming up in 2022, CSK and MS Dhoni will have to consider their options, keeping in mind the cost of retaining a player and the team’s future prospects. Unfortunately, while MS Dhoni has been as sharp as ever with his captaincy, his batting has deteriorated considerably.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

Brad Hogg Thinks MS Dhoni’s Going To Retire At The End Of IPL 2021

Brad Hogg noted that MS Dhoni had lost his sharpness with age, as was evident when KKR’s Varun Chakravarthy once again undid him.  MS Dhoni scored exactly 200 runs in IPL 2020, averaging a below-par 25 while managing only 52 runs in IPL 2021 in 10 games averaging a dismal 10.4. His strike rate was also below 120.

“I think he’s going to retire at the end of the year from IPL cricket. The way he got out to Chakravarthy the other day with the wrong un’, there was a huge gap between bat and pad. I think the reflexes of the 40-year-old are just starting to wane. His keeping has been sensational.”

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images.

“It’s good for Indian cricket and CSK that he is still going because of his leadership out in the middle. He’s keeping things calm and helped Jadeja grow as a cricketer and developing youngsters as well. Just the way that he walked off, that body language, there was a glint in the eye that said I think I’ve just lost that sharpness.”

Brad Hogg Feels MS Dhoni Will Move Into A Management Role And Support Stephen Fleming In Future

With MS Dhoni mentoring the Indian team at the upcoming T20 World Cup, Brad Hogg believes that a potential management role could be in store for the only skipper to win all 3 ICC Trophies. He feels that MS Dhoni could be at the helm at CSK, alongside Stephen Fleming, to oversee the transition period.

“At the age of 40 and with the role that he’s got with the Indian Cricket Team going into that T20 World Cup, I think he’ll move into a management role or even the head coach of CSK.

“Probably the management role and sit alongside Stephen Fleming and help out develop the youngsters but also create a good strategy gor the new wave of CSK cricketers moving forward because you need someone of that quality around that knows Indian conditions, knows the Indian people and has a good rapport with the players.”

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

Brad Hogg predicts MS Dhoni will become CSK coach if the franchise doesn’t retain him in 2022. CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanathan has claimed in the build-up to the 2021 IPL second leg that he expects MS Dhoni to stay with the franchise in the future, but his future role is yet to be defined.

Chennai Super Kings is the second most successful team in the history of IPL, with 3 titles under their belt, only 2 behind Mumbai  Indians (5 titles). But many fans would say they are the most consistent team in the IPL. CSK has been involved in 8 finals and qualified for playoffs 10 times, only missing out in 2020 while the side was suspended for two years in 2016 & 2017.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Virat Kohli Would End Up Captaining The Most Matches In Cricket History: Sanjay Bangar

Sanjay Bangar, former India batting coach believes that the Indian skipper Virat Kohli will break all the captaincy records, and he would end up captaining more than any other cricketer in the history of the game.

Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar backed Indian skipper Virat Kohli to smash all the captaincy records. Despite the fact that Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain ever so far, he is yet to win an ICC trophy.

Virat Kohli-led India suffered a comprehensive eight-wicket loss against New Zealand in the recently-concluded World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Sanjay Bangar
Sanjay Bangar

Sanjay Bangar: Virat Kohli Will End Up Being Probably Captaining More Than Any Skipper In Cricket History

Sanjay Bangar, who worked with Team India till the 2019 World Cup, said Virat Kohli would end up captaining more than any other cricketer in the history of the game.

“If as leaders, you have the opportunity to actually dictate the way the culture of the team is and the outcomes that the team derives, then, in that case, all of them (nominees) were in quest of excellence. So is Virat, I do not doubt that he’ll end up being probably captaining more than any other captain in the history of the game,” Sanjay Bangar said in Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Live.’

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Virar Kohli, who was handed the reins for the final Test match against Australia on the 2014-15 tour, has led India in 61 Tests which is the most by an Indian skipper so far. Under Virat Kohli, India has won 36 Test matches.

In the One Day Internationals, Team India has registered 65 victories from the 95 matches. Virat Kohli has captained the T20I side 45 times, and India has won 27 matches. Under Virat Kohli, India has been the most consistent Test side over the past five years.

Virat Kohli’s Predecessor MS Dhoni Has Captained In Most International Matches

MS Dhoni has led India in 332 international matches and India won 178 of those. The likes of Ricky Ponting (324), Stephen Fleming (303), Graeme Smith (286), Allan Border (271), Arjuna Ranatunga( 249), and Mohammed Azharuddin (221) have captained in more international matches than Virat Kohli (201).

Virat Kohli’s predecessor MS Dhoni has captained in most international matches from 2007 to 2018 before retiring on August 15, 2020, from international matches.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni. Aijaz Rahi / AP
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni. Aijaz Rahi / AP

While MS Dhoni won 27 Test matches as captain and lost 18 in his 60 games in charge, Virat Kohli is also India’s most successful Test captain with 36 wins and 14 losses.

Virat Kohli is also the longest-serving Test captain for any Asian country with Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq behind him as they captained their respective teams in 56 Test matches each. Virat Kohli has led India to victory in all the 11 Test series at home since taking over and has won in West Indies, Sri Lanka, and twice in Australia. He has a win percentage of 63.68.

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor
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Ross Taylor Admits He Might Have Retired If New Zealand Had Won 2019 ODI World Cup

Ross Taylor, a New Zealand middle-order batsman has stated that he might have retired from international cricket if his side had won the 2019 ODI World Cup.

Two years after the heartbreaking disappointment at Lord’s, New Zealand is set to play India in another ICC tournament summit clash. The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, beginning at Southampton on Friday, will be New Zealand’s third final at a world event in six years.

Ross Taylor:- REUTERS/Ross Setford (image sourced from Otago Daily Times www.odt.co.nz)
Ross Taylor: REUTERS/Ross Setford.

Ross Taylor Admits It Was Disappointing To Lose 2019 World Cup Final

After losing the 2015 World Cup final against Australia, New Zealand beat India in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup to set up a grand finale date with hosts England.

The final ended in a tie, following which the teams tussled in a Super Over which also ended in a stalemate. England was eventually crowned 2019 World Cup champions on the pre-decided “boundary count” rule which was scrapped later.

“It was disappointing to have lost that match at Lord’s a couple of years ago. I guess, when you lose, you feel that it might be the last time you are playing a World Cup final, so it is nice for me to be here.

“If we did win that game, I might have retired after that. I am glad I did not, and I am here today,” said  Ross Taylor during a virtual press conference.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

In a career spanning over a decade-and-a-half, Ross Taylor is New Zealand’s most-capped cricketer with 442 international matches across all formats. The 37-year-old is also his country’s leading run-scorer in international cricket and is just four runs shy of recording 18,000 international runs.

Ross Taylor Looking Forward To The Challenge Of Meeting Fantastic Side India In The WTC Final

Ross Taylor called India a “fantastic side” as he praised the Kiwis’ WTC final opponent, and hailed their win in Australia last season which was great to watch. The Kiwi batsman believes the Indian side has all the necessary ingredients to excel in the WTC final.

“India has been a fantastic side for a long period of time — not only their batters but also their bowlers. They won a series against Australia in its home summer, and it was great to watch. It was nice for the New Zealand public to see some world-class bowling against a very good Australian attack.”

Ross Taylor added that India had a fair lot of success in England as well. He also stated that he was sure the Indian bowlers would have enjoyed the swing and the bounce that the Dukes’ ball offers.

“We are looking forward to the challenge. You go through the Indian line-up, and there are just world-class players throughout. Whatever side they decide to go with, it will have world-class players. India has been a world No.1 side for a long time. They will be very tough opposition,” Ross Taylor added.

Even with a second-string side in the absence of injury-hit players, India beat the mighty Australian side at home in the 2020/21 season to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The victory also helped the side earn crucial points in the WTC and boosted their chances of making it to the tournament final. However, India comes into this game having not contested a single Test match since February-March 2021 against England at home.

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Image Source: AP IMAGE

New Zealand, on the other hand, beat England at Birmingham less than a week ago to win their first series in the country in 22 years. The 1-0 series win also helped them displace India from the No.1 Test spot. Ross Taylor believes the England series has helped them acclimatize to the conditions ahead of the WTC final.

“It was an ideal preparation, having played two Test matches against England in these conditions. Cannot think of anything better,” Ross Taylor further added.

Currently ranked 19th in the latest ICC Test Rankings for batsmen, Ross Taylor will be playing his 108th Test for New Zealand when New Zealand meets India at Southampton. Already New Zealand’s highest run-getter in Test cricket, Ross Taylor is only the fourth Black Caps cricketer after the likes of Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, and Brendon McCullum to play over 100 Tests for his nation.

New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team-AFP
/

UK Bound New Zealand Players In IPL 2021 Likely To Remain In India Till May 10

New Zealand cricketers involved in the now-suspended IPL, including captain Kane Williamson, are likely to remain in India at least till May 10 before flying to England for national duty, their players’ union chief said on Wednesday.

The remaining players as well as the support staff in various IPL teams and commentators could return home by charter flights arranged by the franchises, New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association head Heath Mills said.

Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram
Kane Williamson SPORTZPICS/Instagram

New Zealand Cricketers Can’t Travel To England To Play The Hundred, T20 Blast, Test Series, And WTC Final Till May 11: Heath Mills

Heath Mills is expecting a revision in the travel restrictions for incoming travellers from India by the British government. Only British nationals are allowed to travel from India in the current scenario and they need to serve out a 10-day quarantine at a government-approved facility.

“Due to the UK border restrictions, that group cannot get into England until May 11. It is obviously challenging for them to wait for another few days (in India),” Mills told ESPNcricinfo.

Kane Williamson (L), Kyle Jamieson (R)(HT Collage)
Kane Williamson (L), Kyle Jamieson (R)(HT Collage)

Besides Kane Williamson, the UK-bound group includes Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, Chris Donaldson (trainer), Tommy Simsek (physio), Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham, and Finn Allen.

The last three will feature in the T20 Blast in the UK starting June 9. Kane Williamson will also be a part of The Hundred, to be played from July 21. New Zealand plays England in a two-match Test series, beginning on June 2, before they face India in the World Test Championships finals at Southampton from June 18.

Heath Mills: The Group Going Home To New Zealand Is A Real Challenge

Those returning home from India are Stephen Fleming, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Shane Bond, Mike Hesson, Tim Seifert, Adam Milne, Scott Kuggeleijn, and James Pamment. Heath Mills said a few franchises are contemplating organizing a charter flight for this group.

“The group going home to New Zealand is a real challenge. Might be one or two of the franchises might put them on a charter plane, which will be fantastic,” he said.

“We’ll have that confirmed in the next 24 hours,” he added.

Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum BCCI

“But there still might be players who aren’t part of those groups and trying to get them back via commercial airlines is a real challenge because there aren’t too many flights out of India.”

There were 17 New Zealanders in all involved in the IPL, including 10 players. It is very surprising that the New Zealand cricketers are not looking to return home despite two KKR players and three support staff of CSK testing positive for Covid-19.

There is a total of 10 New Zealand cricketers involved in the IPL teams and 6 New Zealand coaches are also involved. New Zealand Cricket Association CEO, Heath Mills said that no player has so far looking to return to their country and they have been continuously monitoring the situation in the IPL

Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match. Sportzpics for IPL
Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match. Sportzpics for IPL
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IPL 2021: Stephen Fleming Explains The Reason Behind Spread Out Field To Stop Kieron Pollard

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach has said that there was a reason why CSK skipper MS Dhoni kept a spread-out field on the last ball against Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard even though Mumbai Indians (MI) needing just two runs to win.

Stephen Fleming suggested that CSK was wary of Kieron Pollard’s big-hitting prowess, so there were fielders stationed at the boundary. Kieron Pollard scored a swashbuckling unbeaten 87 off only 34 balls, hitting six fours and eight maximums, as MI overhauled a stiff 219-run target off the last ball to produce their highest successful chase in IPL history.

Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Stephen Fleming: Kieron Pollard Is A Good Timer Of The Ball And CSK Was Unsure Of What He Will Do Next

Defying conventional wisdom, MS Dhoni kept most of his fielders outside the 30-yeard circle on the last ball. Pacer Lungi Ngidi bowled a sharp yorker, which elicited a grounded hit to long-on from Kieron Pollard. The deep fielder made a fine effort but couldn’t stop the batting pair from completing two runs and seal the win for MI.

Addressing the post-match press conference, coach Stephen Fleming said that he was not surprised to see a spread field, as CSK was looking for a lucky run-out or a 2019 IPL final-like finish to win the game.

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Not really (if he was surprised to see the field). Pollard is such a good timer of the ball that you never know what he’s going to do. Got so much to win, to be honest, we were looking for something like the stumps being hit or like the result we had when we got beaten in the (2019) final.

“So we’ll go have a look over that. I think there are a lot of other instances that we’ll have a look at rather than just the last ball,” said Stephen Fleming.

In a similar match situation in the summit clash of IPL 2019, MI’s veteran pacer yorker specialist Lasith Malinga bowled a slow, dipping yorker to dismiss Shardul Thakur off the last ball to seal his team’s title with a one-run win.

Stephen Fleming explained that as Kieron Pollard was in such good touch, having already hit 6 fours and 8 sixes in his knock, they thought he would once again go for the big hit; or maybe hit the stumps – as in the 2019 IPL final.

Rohit Sharma Rates Kieron Pollard’s Innings One Of The Best Ever

Rohit Sharma was all praise for Kieron Pollard after MI’s stunning way, rating the big West Indian’s knock one the best he has ever seen.

“I have never seen a chase like that before. One of the best innings from Polly. Brilliant to see that from the outside. Very proud of the efforts the boys put in,” said Sharma in the post-match presentation.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Photo Credit: IPL/BCCI.

Kieron Pollard not only shone with the bat but also picked up two crucial wickets – Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis – in the middle overs to return with figures of 2/12. Unsurprisingly, the MI all-rounder was deservingly awarded the Player of the Match for his fabulous all-round performance.

Kieron Pollard hit nearly everything that was bowled at him on Saturday as he hit 8 sixes and 6 boundaries to pull off one of the most spectacular chases in the IPL history. CSK’s Ambati Rayudu hit 7 sixes for his 27-ball 62 not after hitting his fifty in just 20 balls but it went in vain as CSK lost despite scoring 218/4.

For CSK, opener Faf du Plessis scored 50 off 28 balls and Moeen Ali scored 58 off 36 balls besides Ambati Rayudu who scored 72 in a mere 27 balls and remained unbeaten. For MI, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, and Krunal Pandya scored in excess of 30 but Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten 87 off 34 balls turned the match in MI’s favour.

Brief Scores:  Mumbai Indians: 219/6 (Kieron Pollard 87*, Quinton de Kock 38; Sam Curran 3-34) beat Chennai Super Kings: 218/4 (Ambati Rayudu 72, Moeen Ali 58; Kieron Pollard 2-12) by 4 wickets.

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